President Donald Trump is responsible for the “biggest failure” in Chicago retail space development, The Real Deal, which focuses on the city’s real estate news, reported on Wednesday.
The publication interviewed Leslie Karr, a senior vice president for retail at SVN Chicago Commercial.
Karr said she examined the plan for riverfront retail space at the tower’s base with Trump Organization executive Charles Kaplan before the 2005 groundbreaking.
“The way it’s designed now, it’s never going to lease up,” Karr reportedly predicted at the time.
In retrospect, she was correct.
“It’s a dreadful space,” Karr explained. “You could have some kind of luxury call center there, or maybe a high-end med spa, but not at the prices they were asking.”
“A decade after the tower opened in 2009, it has just one retail tenant, a salon that occupies an enclosed 3,400-square-foot suite above the hotel lobby,” they reported. “The entire deck-level space remains empty, its blank beige walls on full display for the millions of tourists who stroll along the river each year. No part of it has ever been leased, according to Trump Organization tax appeal documents filed in Cook County and analyzed by The Real Deal.”
“Trump Tower’s failure is an outlier in Chicago’s competitive retail market, where no comparable space has languished on the market for nearly this long,” The Real Deal added.
Efforts to brand the space with Trump’s name have failed — as have similar efforts to brand the space without Trump.